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Last week I posted The inconvenient truth behind Initiative 1240. It was thorough and detailed but doesn’t make for great soundbites so I have created a shorter version to refer to or use as anyone sees fit.
Cut and paste away.
The only part of a charter school that is a public school, according to this initiative, is the use of tax payer funds.
In addition to the $3M, “School districts that choose to become authorizers of charter schools will incur costs to solicit and review applications, contract with charter school boards, monitor and oversee their authorized charter schools, and annually report to the Board.”
An authorizer may delegate their responsibilities to a third party, either an employee or a contractor. At that point, an authorizer could be a contractor who benefits from a particular charter franchise being approved. It also removes the process of authorizing charter schools one step further out of the public eye.
Teachers and non-teaching staff in a charter school would have no protections that are granted to union employees in public schools in terms of healthcare, working hours, additional responsibilities, the length of the school day and pay. All of that would be at the discretion of the charter school board of directors,
“Charter schools are not subject to and are exempt from all other state statutes and rules applicable to school districts and school district boards of directors”.
“An authorizer may not restrict the number of students a charter school may enroll.”
A charter school may “Enter into contracts with any school district, educational service district, or other public or private entity for the provision of real property, equipment, goods, supplies, and services, including educational instructional services and including for the management and operation of the charter school…” A charter school can “Rent, lease, purchase, or own real property.”
A charter contract may be renewed by the authorizer, at the request of the charter school, for successive five-year terms, although the authorizer may vary the term based on the performance, demonstrated capacities, and particular circumstances of a charter school and may grant renewal with specific conditions for necessary improvements to a charter school.
Years of service in a charter school by certificated instructional staff shall be included in the years of service calculation for purposes of the statewide salary allocation schedule under RCW 28A.150.410. This section does not require a charter school to pay a particular salary to its staff while the staff is employed by the charter school.
Charter schools decide on their own pay scale for teachers and normally it’s lower than what a unionized teacher would make to keep the operating cost down for the charter school and yet, they want to receive from the state the amount of money that the state would normally pay to a union teacher.
Between being exempt from state statutes and regulations and with no public oversight, you have a private school using tax dollars and even turning a profit because the charter school is a “non-profit” and a non-profit organization does not pay taxes. The profit therefore goes into the salaries of the charter school CEO and the management company that would operate the school.
Sweet deal for the charter schools and management companies, not so good for the tax payer.